Community Grants Associate - Nonprofit Sector

"This community foundation, one of the largest in the country, provides grants from a broad range of funds, which enables individuals, corporations, foundations and other organizations to enrich people’s lives by providing support to the nonprofit sector. I report to the vice-president of grants and community initiatives, and I participate in a broad range of foundation grant-making activities, all aimed at creating strategic and positive social change. My core responsibility is the ongoing management of the semi-annual community grants program, which is the foundation’s primary unrestricted grants program. The role looks to support proposals from the nonprofit sector to scale operations, launch new initiatives, provide microfinancing, and encourage social entrepreneurship and other leading-edge social innovations. I am also involved in the identifying new grant-making streams to address emerging and ongoing needs in the charitable sector."

Salary Range:

$55,000 - $83,000

The Tip

Do a program with work terms or create your own workforce experience. This forces you to get out of the classroom and apply yourself in different situations. It helps you to learn to be adaptive and become resilient.

Priority Knowledge & Skills
Systems Thinking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Understand systems thinking

  • Identify and make plans for future trends

  • Recognize trends, opportunities and underlying patterns

 
Human-Centered Design & Design Thinking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Think laterally

  • Identify patterns

  • Work with third-party groups, such as think tanks, labs and accelerators

  • Conduct secondary, qualitative and/or quantitative research

 

Communication, Collaboration & Facilitation

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Use contextual knowledge

  • Communicate effectively in all formats

  • Design and facilitate collective impact initiatives

  • Cultivate new collaborations and partnerships across sectors

  • Compelling presentation & report writing skills

Changemaking

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Be authentic, empathetic and ethical

  • Ask questions

  • Embrace challenges as opportunities to create systemic change

  • Demonstrate long-term social impact and sustainability

  • Break down silos and leverage relationships

 
Oversight & Knowledge Management

Knowledge & ability to:

  • Develop and manage the planning process

  • Direct coordination of activities across departments, stakeholders, clients & users

  • Manage operations & resources; provide oversight

  • Leverage stakeholder relationships

  • Develop and implement program schedules

  • Budget management & oversight

  • Evaluate social, financial and collective impact

  • Manage and analyze complex data

 

Core Transferable Skills

Be an expert at all core transferable skills:

  • Thinking skills

  • Communications skills

  • Organizational skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Technical literacy

Building Block Experiences
Education & Learning:
  • Bachelor of Communication Studies

  • Completed project management certificate and leadership development certificate at local university

  • Ongoing professional development courses to increase knowledge around philanthropic trends in impact measurement and evaluation methods

 

I am a lifelong learner and am interested in exploring how I can improve and be the best that I can be.

 

Employment Experiences:
  • My first job was during my undergraduate studies when I was hired to organize the university’s Terry Fox Run

  • Following university, I worked for a small advertising and public relations agency

  • Worked for several years in corporate communications and public relations at a major energy firm and had the opportunity to secure a junior position in that organization’s community investment department. I learned all about the grant-making process during my time there.

 

I learned the importance of adapting my skills and knowledge from one area and using them in another area. My communication skills have been invaluable as I have worked in both the corporate and the charitable sectors.

Community Experiences:
  • Volunteered in numerous social service agencies over the past 10 years

  • Vice-president of the local community association where I helped prepare a community grant for $50,000 for the province’s community improvement program

 

Volunteering is part of my DNA, I have been very fortunate to have worked and learned from many different colleagues, whether volunteers or staff.

Contextual Experiences:
  • Took a break between jobs and helped to build schools in East Africa for Habitat for Humanity

 

That was my first time outside of Canada and it was a big learning curve. I became more independent and self-assured. It prepared me for the next phase of my career and made me realize how much I wanted to work in the nonprofit sector.

Relationships:
  • I heard about my current position informally. While I was completing the leadership development certificate, one of my classmates mentioned there was an opening at the foundation, so I applied.

 

It’s important to leverage all the relationships you have as you never know which one might open a door for you.